Patrick Trail, working with ECHO Asia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, shared some feedback after reading the recent EDN article about edible insects. He wrote, “It is not uncommon to find a variety of edible insects in many of the markets here in Thailand, and across many SE Asian countries, though typically in small quantities and mostly wild harvested. However, [at our] local Maejo Agricultural University, one can tour the newly constructed Center for the Production of Black and Yellow Soldier Fly. Using mostly organic market waste, black soldier fly larvae are being raised on a large scale and are being fed to broiler chickens as a supplemental feed. For more information or to set up a tour, please contact our office.
“Dr. Arnat Tancho has also recently published a manual guidebook on the production of BSF, though currently only Thai translation is available. Its title in English (translated from Thai) would be ‘Black Soldier Fly Production’ from Maejo University.”
Patrick also told us about a recent encounter with a very real agricultural pest problem that relates to a lack of insect consumption. He wrote, “On a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia, we went in to do a rapid assessment of some agricultural challenges, including a major infestation of the sugarcane white grub (Lepidiota stigma: Figure 8) in northeastern Bali. It is currently ravaging farmers' fields, consuming the roots of banana, sweet potato, cassava, and several others, to the point that farmers have been abandoning their fields. Farmers are having very little success with managing the grub, and have become overwhelmed by this voracious insect pest.
“After interviewing several farmers, it seems that L.stigma is neither an invasive species, nor recently introduced; it has always been present on the island. However, just one generation ago when times were tougher, people would collect the large grubs and consume them. Today, people don't have any interest in eating the larvae, and their numbers have grown to destructive levels in farmers’ fields. I never guessed that part of our proposed IPM strategy would include advice to 'eat more grubs,' but perhaps that can and will be more common in the future!"